Russia says missile hit weapons depot in Kremenchuk mall fire

Rescuers work at the site of a shopping mall hit by a Russian missile attack, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kremenchuk, Poltava region, Ukraine, in this photo released on June 28, 2022. Service press release of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS

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LONDON, June 28 (Reuters) – Russia’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday denied rocketing a shopping mall in the Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk, saying it had hit an arms depot and a subsequent ammunition explosion had sparked a fire. in the nearby shopping center.

At least 18 people were killed on Monday in what Kyiv said was a direct Russian missile attack on the busy Kremenchuk shopping mall. The G7 called the attack a Russian war crime, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said it was “one of the most challenging terrorist attacks in European history,” accusing Russia of directly targeting civilians. read more

Moscow on Tuesday rejected those accounts, saying it had hit a legitimate military target in the city and the mall was not in use.

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“In Kremenchuk, Russian forces attacked a weapons depot that stored weapons received from the United States and Europe with high-precision aerial weapons. As a result of the precision attack, Western-made weapons and ammunition concentrated in the warehouse… were hit,” Moscow’s Defense Ministry said in a statement posted on its Telegram channel.

“The detonation of ammunition stored for Western weapons caused a fire in a non-functioning shopping mall located next to the depot,” it added.

Ukraine said the mall was directly hit by Russian missiles and around 1,000 people were inside at the time of the attack.

Rescue efforts continued Tuesday to recover survivors and bodies, with dozens reported injured and hospitalized.

Ukraine has reported a sharp escalation in Russian attacks in recent days. On Sunday, a residential building in the capital Kyiv was targeted in the first attack on the capital since early June. Alongside the mall, Ukraine said Russian missiles also hit the eastern cities of Kharkiv and Lysychansk on Monday in one of the bloodiest days for civilian casualties in weeks.

Speaking hours after the first casualties were reported in Kremenchuk on Monday, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy, accused Ukraine of using the incident to garner sympathy ahead of the NATO military alliance’s summit. from June 28 to 30, noting “striking discrepancies” in Kyiv’s account of the incident.

Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilian areas during its four-month offensive against Ukraine. The UN says at least 4,700 civilians have been killed since Russia invaded on February 24.

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Reuters reporting Edited by Guy Faulconbridge and Peter Graff

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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